Who Gets Elliott?

At their December meeting, the State Land Board decided to “direct Director Walker and staff at DSL to commence work with OSU and other agency partners on developing a plan to transform the Elliott into a research forest …”

Despite widespread media coverage to the contrary, nothing was said in the Land Board’s actual decision about selling the forest, and not only OSU but “other agency partners” were to be included in developing the plan to make the Elliott a research forest.

The Eugene Weekly’s excellent Elliott article (“Not Out of the Woods,” Jan. 24) raises doubts about the wisdom of handing over the Elliott to OSU. OSU’s administration has supported little if any on-the-ground research on forest carbon. Although a few OSU scientists are world leaders in conceptual forest-carbon research, their work was not even mentioned in OSU’s testimony to the Land Board.

The Global Warming Commission and the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, in contrast, have laid out very specific research needed to understand the forest carbon cycle. DSL should partner with these agencies in their planning for the Elliott.

By undertaking development of an Elliott Habitat Conservation Plan before conducting a thorough carbon analysis, DSL has started down a path that will make it impossible to take fullest advantage of the staggering carbon density of the Elliott’s unique ecosystem.

It’s the Global Warming Commission and the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute who understand forest carbon research needs, and these two agencies should be partnering in development of the Elliott’s Habitat Conservation Plan.

Lon Otterby, Marcola